UNITED STATES—I have been racially profiled before in my life and as an African-American male I have come to expect it, however, in no shape, way or form does it make it acceptable. I ventured into an establishment that I wanted to visit for quite some time; I had a gift card that was given to me years ago, that I for reasons I cannot fathom had never been utilized. So it’s a typical day like any other, I venture into the store and was greeted, as I decided to try to find an item I could utilize my gift card on. I was browsing a bit, because I had no idea what I wanted, did I want to purchase shoes, did I want to purchase a shirt, a sweater, a baseball cap or something else.

After a few minutes I found an item I wanted and made my purchase. All seemed good, that is until I exited the establishment and learned from the family member who was with me that we were being profiled in the store. I was appalled, astonished and livid. I just spent my hard earned money at a store that assumed I was going to steal something because of the color of my skin. I was not happy the least bit at all America. So what did I do? I immediately turned around within a minute after making the purchase to return the item.

Let me be clear that I was racially profiled by a Caucasian woman, but when I made my return the cashier who helped me was an African-American woman. I explained to her what transpired, and the Caucasian worker who profiled me immediately wanted to know why I was returning the item to the store. The cashier explained to her. I think she was stunned that someone witnessed not only what she was doing, but what she said when she got on her speaker. I explained to the cashier that my return had nothing to do with her behavior.

In fact, I felt befuddled by what had transpired this is not to say I have not been racially profiled at an establishment before in my life because I have; it just stung because I had no idea it was transpiring before my eyes. I felt stupid and as a result had to immediately remedy the situation. One thing you should know about me is that I work extremely hard for my money and I WILL NOT spend it at any establishment who does not appreciate my business or treats me lesser than the actual human being that I am.

Normally, I would never put a company on blast, but in this instance, I am not holding back because I do not want anyone to suffer the same horrid treatment I encounter. The establishment where I was racially profiled was Champs Sports, and I think I’m more frustrated to know that this employee happens to exhibit such behavior and it has yet to be noticed by the company. I’m certain I was not the first customer to be treated this way, there were probably hundreds maybe thousands who have encountered similar treatment, and it’s not acceptable.

Champs Sports, never in a million years will you ever see a dime of my money as long as I live. In addition, I’ve already warned all my family members to never shop at this establishment ever again. I now have a gift card that will ever be used because I do not see how I can come to grips to spend money at an establishment that believes it is okay to racially profile its customers. Could I ever forgive the employee? I don’t know, I think there is hate in that person’s heart and they need to take a deep look in the mirror and reflect on their behavior.

The color of your skin does not make you better than someone else, but we live in a society where so many people think that is acceptable. I‘ve already sent a scathing email to the company’s corporate division reporting the incident. I’m hoping to receive a formal apology for the treatment I endured not to mention having a tough conversation with that employee and taking on sensitivity training to teach their staff such behavior is not acceptable nor will it be in the future.

Not only is this a fast way to lose customers and business, it places a stain on the company that I believe is quite difficult to rid itself of. It’s the year 2018, and we still live in a country where people love to spread hate and ignorance. I’ve said this before and I will say it again: stereotypes are dangerous because they lead to prejudices, which lead to racism, which ultimately lead to discrimination. Let me be crystal clear to all the bigots, racists and just plain ignorant people in our world: there are other races out there besides your own. Get used to it because we’re not going anywhere. The more ignorant you behave the more stupid you look in the long run. What’s that saying, “Never judge a person until you work a mile in their shoes?” I wish so many people would be forced to do that, it might teach them a bit about tolerance.